The Oklahoma City Thunder strutted into Tuesday’s Draft Lottery yielding a 24.93% cut of sneaking out two top 5 picks — they walked away empty handed.
For the Thunder, their lottery night appeared to be smooth sailing as through the first seven picks — chalk, no surprises from 14 through 8. This calamity got hit by some steady rumblings at pick 8 as the Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota) plummeted down a spot pushing the Toronto Raptors into the top 4.
This is when disaster struck.
After chants of “one more pick” circulated across party rooms, and Thunder fans prepared for Stillwater’s own — the waves came crashing in. Oklahoma City had garnered the sixth pick.
In a shot at redemption, however, the Thunder’s lottery still held a glimmer of hope as with Houston’s pick being owed to Oklahoma City had it fell to no. 5 there was a compensation prize. That compensation became pick no. 18 as Orlando had fallen down to five.
In the gaze of optimism, Oklahoma City’s largest nightmare was exhausted as the Houston Rockets fell one pick shy of the grand prize — slipping to pick no. 2 as the Detroit Pistons came away as victors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers skied to pick no. 3, while the Toronto Raptors harvested pick no. 4 off an 8.5% chance.
For the Thunder, this outcome marks one of the worst case scenarios, and the most predictable outcome headed into draft night. Picks 6 and 18 for the Thunder clocked in at an 18.07% chance leading into Tuesday, a scenario that pulled straight away from all other competitions, with picks 5 and 7 appearing 12% of the time.
Barring any trades, Oklahoma City will enter the 2021 Draft with selections 6, 16, and 18 in the first-round, while cherishing picks 34, 36, and 55 in the second-round.
Currently, the Thunder carry the largest sum of picks (6) in July’s Draft.
Sam Presti has mentioned in prior statements evaluating trade options to both move up and down in draft processes are always in play. As it stands, Presti mounts 18 first-round picks until 2027, meaning if Oklahoma City has their eyes set on a target — lack of assets should not become an issue.
The NBA Draft will be held on July 29 at the Barclays Center.
2021 NBA Draft Lottery Order
6. Oklahoma City
7. Golden State (via Minnesota)
8. Orlando (via Chicago)
10. New Orleans
12. San Antonio
14. Golden State